A Love Lesson from a Moroccan Wall

“The love we give away is the only love we keep.”

Elbert Hubbard

On a salmon-pink back alleyway in Marrakech, Morocco, I discovered a tribute to love’s enduring nature.

Its medium was white chalk. The hand that drew it undoubtedly belonged to a child. Its canvas was a rugged wall. That spring, as I explored a new country far from home, the sketch would symbolize to me love’s enduring nature.

As I walked Marrakech’s calmer residential lanes solo, aiming to escape the bustling souk (marketplace) and experience Moroccan traditions, I encountered curious children of all ages. One group of boys enthusiastically kicked a soccer ball about. I snapped a photo of them as the ball rolled into the frame, seemingly on cue. I also passed a duo of boys ferrying bread dough to a communal oven for baking. When they saw I had a camera in hand, they hammed it up just long enough for me to capture a shot. Even as they skipped off into the distance, the baking trays remained impressively placed atop their little heads, indicating that they’d had some prior practice at this errand.

A year after that first solo jaunt to Morocco, I would return to the ‘Pink City’ with my mother. She was eager to see the vibrant North African escape that had so captivated me with its lantern-making districts, mountains of silver tea-serving paraphernalia, colorful spice pyramids, delicately-flavored foods, and welcoming people. Lost in the labyrinthine passageways, we unexpectedly explored new corners of the legendary city as well as lovely nooks and crannies I’d missed the year before. But one familiar scene alerted me that we’d also tiptoed on paths I’d explored the previous year.

We rounded a corner, and there it was — the same love doodle that had caught my eye the year before! Apparently, love (or at least this drawing) was also long-lasting.

May you celebrate the enduring and universal spirit of love this Valentine’s Day!

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell . All Rights Reserved.

Where in the World?

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

25 thoughts on “A Love Lesson from a Moroccan Wall

    1. Marina, thank you. I really found it remarkable that the same artwork was there the second year.

      Here’s hoping that you and your beau had a splendid day yesterday. Is your sister still in town?

    1. Antoinette, Morocco was one of my earlier solo travel destinations, so initially I was a bit unsure of how it’d be. I found it to be similar to what I experienced in other Mediterranean countries solo (generally, friendly males on the streets!). My third trip to Morocco, I went with a female friend, and we had no challenges either. The shopkeepers can be very persistent with their sales approach (as in many countries) so I learned how to say ‘no thank you’ in Arabic.

      As with any destination, common sense precautions are important. For Morocco, I opted to wear longer clothes than I would normally wear in Europe. I saw European visitors wearing more sparse summer clothes than mine. I’m sure they didn’t have any problems, but as a solo traveler I felt I attracted less attention dressed the way I did. Also, I’ve read about some solo female travelers wearing a fake wedding ring during their travels. On a similar vein, I’d always make it sound as though I had a husband or family back at the hotel to meet, and that I was only out and about for a short afternoon jaunt through the city.

      I have a grasp of French, so I enjoyed using that to communicate with the Moroccans I met. I’m sure many in the tourist/business sectors also speak English, though.

      I also travelled to Tunisia solo and found my interactions to be similar to those in Morocco. I met really kind people in both countries (fellow tourists and local residents) and that made my visits really special.

      Are you thinking of heading there sometime soon? I loved Morocco!

  1. What a lovely post. Morocco is my favorite country and Marrakesh my favorite city! Thanks for following my blog Middle East Moments. I have just followed yours as from everything I’ve read I related to it so much. You have a great blog.

    1. Andrea, I’m glad our paths have crossed! I shall look forward to hearing more of your tales about life in Jordan. I visited Amman, Petra, and the Dead Sea in 2009, and of course, Petra was incredible. I hope to return someday! How long have you lived there?

      1. I’ve been living here for nearly 3 years and what a 3 years it has been – married to a Jordanian, built a house and we have a 1 year old daughter. If you do come back then you must let me know and I can give you personalised tour of Jordan.

      2. Definitely learning something new nearly every hour not just every day! I speak to our daughter in English and my husband and everyone else speaks to her in Arabic so we are hoping that she will grow up speaking both languages from the get go.

      3. How wonderful that she’s being exposed to multiple languages at a young age! Yesterday, we visited an English class at a Croatian school. We were quite impressed by how well the 5th graders were doing with their second/third languages. (They start learning English here in 1st grade.) Seems your daughter will be on a similar path!

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